File Extension ASCII

Information about ASCII files and how to open them


ASCII is an acronym that stands for the American Standard Code for Information Interchange. These standards were developed during the 1960's with the current standard released in 1986. While most people consider a text file (file extension .txt) as an ASCII file since all words, numbers and letters are easily readable, the ASCII standard comprises an entire encoding scheme consisting of 128 viewable and non-viewable (control) characters. This 128 character set not only includes the full 26 letter American alphabet in capitals as well as lower case, it includes all of the numbers as well as the common delimiters on an American typewriter ( !@#$%^&*()_-+=;:" ' []{}|/?) and a full set of control based characters which can be typed with the alphabetic letters in conjunction with the CTRL (control) key.

ASCII standard files may be opened and viewed with any text processor including Windows Notepad. While .txt files may be human readable, any ASCII file will display characters with a text editor and may be modified, although such modifications may corrupt the original file format.

SCII encoding was the most common type of encoding used on the internet until 2007 when it was replaced by the now common UTF (UCS Transformation Format) standard which is backward compatible with ASCII.

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